Patients Awake / Active During Brain Surgery


I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Jul 19, 2004
Out of Bounds
At face value this one sounds like something from the Weekly World News - perhaps a piece from the facing page opposite the latest Bat Boy sighting. It's actually an interesting account of an operatically-trained stand-up comedian maintaining the requisite banter with her surgical team during an 8-hour surgery ...
I sang opera while surgeons removed my brain tumour

A stand-up comedian had her doctors in stitches as they performed life-saving brain surgery.

Sarah-May Philo told jokes and even sang the opera classic Ave Maria as surgeons removed a tumour during a nine-hour operation.

The 34-year-old comic and special needs teacher from Dennistoun in Glasgow knew she would have to be awake to measure brain function but her dialogue with medical staff went beyond all expectations. ...
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At face value this one sounds like something from the Weekly World News - perhaps a piece from the facing page opposite the latest Bat Boy sighting ...

I sang opera while surgeons removed my brain tumour

It's actually an interesting account of an operatically-trained stand-up comedian maintaining the requisite banter with her surgical team during an 8-hour surgery ...
Haha ! tough girl :cool: .. the last time I was an inpatient, I went down to meet 'The Breakfast Club' (us patients who'd sneak out for a smoke at the front of the hospital and we all sat on a weird sculpture) and we met some young woman who was the spitting image of Tank Girl, clothes and all except with blonde dreadlocks:


... except she had a blood bag hanging off her head (neck? .. I can't remember exactly but it was somewhere 'wrong' above her shoulders) because she'd just come out of surgery, turns out she was a kick boxing instructor and one of her student had landed a lucky kick .. so she'd come round, come outside for a fag and told me that the surgeons said they'd never seen anyone come round so quickly after the surgery she'd just had .. she'd refused to stay in bed because she wanted a fag and then she wanted to go home and see her daughter. There's some tough fuckers about ..
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This patient demonstrated both mental and psychomotor capabilities during brain surgery by playing her violin.
UK patient plays violin during unusual brain surgery

Surgeons at King’s College Hospital in London removed a brain tumor from a woman who played the violin during the procedure.

Doctors for violinist Dagmar Turner, 53, mapped her brain before the surgery to identify areas that were active when she played the instrument and those responsible for controlling language and movement.

Doctors then woke her in mid-procedure so she could play to “ensure the surgeons did not damage any crucial areas of the brain that controlled Dagmar’s delicate hand movements,″ the hospital said in a statement.

“We knew how important the violin is to Dagmar, so it was vital that we preserved function in the delicate areas of her brain that allowed her to play,″ said Prof. Keyoumars Ashkan, her neurosurgeon. “We managed to remove over 90% of the tumor, including all the areas suspicious of aggressive activity, while retaining full function in her left hand.”

Turner, who plays in Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra and various choral societies, left the hospital three days later and hopes to return to her orchestra soon. She was full of praise for the efforts of Ashkan, a fellow music lover.

“The thought of losing my ability to play was heart-breaking but, being a musician himself, Prof. Ashkan understood my concerns,″ she said. “He and the team at King’s went out of their way to plan the operation – from mapping my brain to planning the position I needed to be in to play.″
This Science Alert item on Ms. Turner's surgery includes the following:

"We perform around 400 resections (tumour removals) each year, which often involves rousing patients to carry out language tests, but this was the first time I've had a patient play an instrument," Ashkan said in a hospital statement on Tuesday.

... and provides a video showing her playing the violin during the procedure.
Here's a new approach ... An Italian woman undergoing "waking" brain surgery prepared stuffed olives during the procedure.

Italian woman prepares traditional stuffed olives while undergoing brain surgery

A 60-year-old Italian woman made 90 stuffed olives in under an hour during a brain operation to remove a tumor.

The tumor was located in the patient’s left temporal lobe, the area of the brain dedicated to the control of language and complex movements of the right side of the body.

The woman remained conscious and prepared the traditional snack, called olive ascolane, which, “allows us to monitor the patient while intervening in brain functions and allows us to calibrate our actions,” explained Dr. Roberto Trignani, head of the Neurosurgery Department at the Azienda Ospedali Riuniti in Ancona. ...

“It went very well,” Trignani said at the end of the complex operation which lasted 2.5 hours and required 11 different medical staff including surgeons, a psychologist, and several nurses.

In the last five years, Trignani has performed around 60 operations with patients “awake” and engaged in other activities, although this is the first time stuffed olives have been involved. Other unusual activities have included playing the violin and the trumpet.

I'm willing to bet they had music while they operated. Brain Salad Surgery?
An Italian man remained awake and played a saxophone during his 9-hour surgery to remove a brain tumor.
Patient plays saxophone while undergoing brain surgery in Italy

Doctors in Italy shared details of a recent, delicate brain surgery during which patient remained awake and playing the saxophone.

Paideia International Hospital in Rome said in a news release that the 35-year-old patient ... was kept awake and played his saxophone during the 9-hour surgery to remove a tumor from his brain.

Doctors said the musical performance allowed the surgeons to map the different functions of his brain as they operated.

"Awake surgery makes it possible to map with extreme precision during surgery the neuronal networks that underlie the various brain functions such as playing, speaking, moving, remembering, counting," Dr. Christian Brogna, who led the surgery team, said ...

"The goal of awake surgery is to remove the brain tumor or a vascular malformation such as cavernomas located in specific areas of the brain, while preserving the patient's quality of life." ...
FULL STORY (With Photo):